(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this birth injury/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
If defendant Lee had asked, she would have learned that the variable decelerations were worsening (lower heart rate and longer duration) and the baseline was increasing and the variability was diminishing. A baseline increasing means that the fetus’s heart rate was getting faster when not in deceleration (fetal tachycardia). Here, the fetus’s heart rate had increased as high as 170 beats per minute from a previous normal baseline of approximately 150 beats per minute. This increase is indicative of fetal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). Also, defendant Lee would have learned crucial information that the variability was diminishing as well, which is also indicative of hypoxia. For more information about this topic, please visit http://www.sacramentopersonalinjurylawyerblog.com/.
At this point (17:00), Ms. Jackson’s condition required that the Pitocin be discontinued. Continuing the Pitocin in light of Ms. Jackson’s fetal monitoring changes is contraindicated, because uterine contractions decrease blood flow to the fetus. Pitocin has the effect of increasing the strength of the contractions. Pitocin should be discontinued if there is fetal distress. Lee did not order the Pitocin to be discontinued at 17:00. In fact, a nurse turned the Pitocin off, but waited about another 20 minutes before doing so.
At 17:18, a nurse telephoned defendant Dr. Lee once more and reported that there were variable decelerations that were deeper with a slower return to baseline. Most probably, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, these variable decelerations were the result of prolonged administration of Pitocin, or umbilical cord compression, or a combination of both. Defendant Lee, after five hours since her last visit with Ms. Jackson, at last went to examine her at 17:22 or 17:23. Three minutes earlier, however, the baby developed fetal bradycardia (a slow heart rate in the fetus). A normal fetal heart rate is 120 to 160 beats per minute. George’s heart rate had slowed to 80 to 90 beats per minute.
Defendant Dr. Lee attempted a vacuum extraction of the fetus at 17:24. According to Dr. Stein, he attempted a second vacuum extraction at 17:25 and, when that failed, took time to attempt a forceps delivery that failed as well. When the forceps delivery failed, Ms. Jackson was moved to an operating room for an emergency cesarean-section. George Jackson was delivered at 17:42 with a neurological injury at birth. (See Part 5 of 13.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.